Interventions is a feature in Middle East Report Online offering critical reviews of important Middle East-related books, films and other cultural production. Click here for past Interventions articles.

The Imperial Lament

by Joel Beinin | published June 2004

Niall Ferguson, Colossus: The Price of America’s Empire (New York: Penguin Press, 2004).

There is something refreshing about British historian Niall Ferguson’s argument “not merely that the United States is an empire, but that it has always been an empire.” For a certain kind of American liberal, the Bush administration's eager invasion of Iraq has been a bad dream. The ignominious departure of US viceroy L. Paul Bremer from Baghdad on June 28, many assume, marks the beginning of the end of a grim, aberrant interlude in an otherwise innocent and idealistic US foreign policy. In contrast, Ferguson cheerily cites the work of the independent Marxist, Harry Magdoff, and the secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Geir Lundestad, to establish that US armed forces were stationed in 64 countries in 1967 and that those forces conducted 168 different overseas military interventions between 1946 and 1965.

"Is This Case for Real?"

by Joan Mandell
published in MER202

Michel Shehadeh is one of the defendants in the 10-year old LA 8 case. The following are excerpts from an interview with him conducted by Joan Mandell on February 8, 1997.

You have been wanting to write something about the case. Have you always wanted to be a writer or were you motivated by the case?

When the case started, I was studying journalism at the California State at Long Beach. I had wanted to be a film director. Before I left Palestine, I wanted to be an actor. My father told me, if you have the talent you can be an actor, but you should learn a profession in case you do not make it.

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Ten Years of the Los Angeles Eight Deportation Case

by Phyllis Bennis
published in MER202

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Shoring Up the National Security State

by Nina Farnia
published in MER259

Many expected the Obama administration to slow or altogether stop the growth of the national security state that its two predecessor administrations brought into being, but just the opposite has occurred. Prisoners are still held without charge at Guantánamo Bay; the Patriot Act is still the law; the administration has retained the use of rendition and protected state secrets with punitive vigor. President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has prosecuted more whistleblowers than all others combined. In key respects, indeed, the Obama administration has expanded and institutionalized the national security state.

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Short-Circuiting the Media/Policy Machine

Lessons for Activists Confronting US Foreign Policy in the Middle East

by Sam Husseini
published in MER208

Media coverage of the February 1998 showdown with Iraq highlighted subtle but significant changes in the relationship between the mainstream media and US foreign policymaking. Although the major media -- despite some alleged soul searching by media professionals [1] after the Gulf war -- have changed little since the pro-war hysteria of 1991, activists are discovering more ways to obstruct the media juggernaut and influence policymaking -- sometimes by actually using the mass media.

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Constructing an International Criminal Court

by Joe Stork
published in MER207

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Of Principle and Peril

by The Editors | published March 22, 2011

Reasonable, principled people can disagree about whether, in an ideal world, Western military intervention in Libya’s internal war would be a moral imperative. With Saddam Hussein dead and gone, there is arguably no more capricious and overbearing dictator in the Arab world than Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi. The uprising of the Libyan people against him, beginning on February 17, was courageous beyond measure. It seems certain that, absent outside help, the subsequent armed insurrection would have been doomed to sputter amidst the colonel’s bloody reprisals. 

Getting It Wrong in Guantánamo

by Lisa Hajjar | published November 23, 2010

I was at Guantánamo Bay prison on Halloween. In a ghoulishly fitting coincidence, that was the same day a former child solider was convicted for war crimes for the first time since the end of World War II. Eight years and one day after Omar Khadr arrived at Guantánamo, his military commission case concluded with a plea-bargained sentence of eight more years.

Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was 15 on July 27, 2002, when US forces captured him in an Afghan village following a firefight. His father had sent him to Afghanistan the previous month to translate for an al-Qaeda operative.

Enloe, Nimo's War, Emma's War

by Lauren Geiser
published in MER256

Cynthia Enloe, Nimo’s War, Emma’s War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2010).

War is usually presented as all about hard power and weaponry. In school, students are taught about generals, battlefields, advances in armaments and innovations in military strategy. The historical figures associated with wars whose pictures are featured in textbooks are overwhelmingly male. Women’s experiences are considered to be of secondary importance in understanding armed conflict.

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Autumn Soldier

by Chris Toensing
published in MER256

Amir Bar-Lev, The Tillman Story (2010).

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